Last Friday a very long walk under bright blue desert skies set the stage for a weekend of grand adventure on the road less traveled, and a brief visit to the land down under. Both were in stark contrast to a week consumed with a seemingly endless series of technological battles and misadventures.
Early on Sunday morning, the first day of spring, we met with our son for another excellent breakfast (I suggest the Greek omelette) at Rutherford’s 66 Family Diner. This was followed by a leisurely drive east on Route 66 to attend a marketing meeting with John McEnulty and Darcy at Grand Canyon Caverns. As a promotional development consultant for the property, I was to discuss pending projects, formulating a strategy for coming months, how to promote the caverns at the European Route 66 Festival in Germany and other issues.
Working with the management at the caverns is one of the most enjoyable jobs I have ever had. This is an easy property to promote as we enjoy our visits immensely, and the owners have an infectious spirit of enthusiasm, passion, vision, and excitement that is manifest throughout the property.
Every time that my dearest friend and I visit the caverns complex, for business or pleasure, a feeling of childlike excitement overwhelms us. Judging by the smiles on the folks of all ages taking a cavern tour, playing miniature golf, eating in the restaurant, enjoying a trail ride, or setting up camp, we are not the only ones.
Updates about special offers, new tours, and special events at the caverns will be provided through the new feature, Updates From Jim Hinckley’s America, a free subscription service. The registration form is in the upper right corner.
After decades of decline, this once popular resort is again a destination in itself. The parking lot is full, the award winning RV park is full, the restaurant is busy, the gift shop is crowded, the refurbished motel is fully booked on many evenings, and the caverns tours, included the new wild experience tours as well as the ghost walk, are busy. It is all rather exciting and reminds me of when we stopped there forty years ago.
Of course, as with the Blue Swallow Motel, the Wagon Wheel Motel, the Ariston Cafe, or so many popular attractions along Route 66, it is the people that transform them from being merely a successful business into a destination. The caverns is no exception.
John McEnulty has a love and passion for the property, and the people who visit, that he passes on to his staff. Future plans for renovation and development of the property are expansive.
After another stimulating meeting and delicious lunch shared with John and Darcy, my dearest friend and I headed home at pace that was beyond leisurely. It seemed impossible to nudge the speedometer above fifty miles-per-hour and I was constantly pulling over to let vehicles pass.
The weather was picture perfect, mid seventies with a very light breeze. It was the type of day that is made for a bit of back road adventure.
So, west of the Crozier Canyon Ranch we turned on to the pre-1939 alignment of Route 66 that was also the course for the National Old Trails Highway. You can follow this road for several miles before being turned back by a gate marked private property. The highlights of the scenic little drive are a small stream with waterfall, and the stone supports for a late 19th century railroad bridge. The railroad and the road were victims of a major flood in the canyon in 1939.
And now a new week begins, and what a week it is going to be! Today will be consumed with phone calls, the scheduling of appointments, email correspondence, press release drafts for Ramada Kingman and Grand Canyon Caverns, and a meeting with the Historic Preservation Committee (I serve as a commissioner).
Tuesday starts with a marketing meeting at Ramada Kingman and then voting in the primary (don’t ask). This will be followed by completion of a photo file for a pending project, and creation of a PowerPoint presentation for a tour group stopping in Kingman in a few weeks.
All of this is the template for the rest of the week. Interesting times, to say the very least.